Glimpses of Israel - The Western Wall

by Joseph Hunting

There is no lack of memorials left by ancient and modern civilizations. The pyramids, the Taj Mahal and various shrines commemorating war dead are but a few.

The precise date of the construction of the Temple platform retaining wall is unknown. The lowest courses of the wall several metres below present ground level certainly date back to the kingdom period. Some authorities even suggest that the foundations date back to Solomon. Excavations have revealed that the depth and length of the wall are far more extensive than originally supposed. But of this we are certain, the massive stones evident today are the only surviving link with the glorious Temple that once adorned Jerusalem.

No doubt there have been other buildings in the past that were bigger. Ancient Babylon was renowned for its palaces and hanging gardens, and the magnificent buildings of ancient Greece were equally resplendent. Their ruins have been carefully restored and attract tens of thousands of tourists every year.

Yet in Jerusalem a simple rugged stone wall is more revered and loved than all other shrines put together. Why is this? Is it because those stones are a symbol and a reminder of a heritage that is deeper even than life itself? Are they not the only tangible evidence that here the God of Israel once dwelt in the midst of His people?

The word ‘Ichabod’ , meaning the ‘glory has departed’ , may well apply to the Temple area and its only remaining link, the Western Wall.

The days may not be far distant when, after the time spoken of as 'Jacob’s Trouble' , the streets of Jerusalem will ring again with the shouts of Hosanna and Hallelujah. Then the glory of God will again fill His Temple and those ancient stones will have bridged the centuries when the Jewish people have kept alive the hope, 'Next year in Jerusalem'.